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Congressional Resolution In Honor Of Gjergj Castrioti Scanderbeg

Updated: Aug 3, 2018

Congressmen Rohrabacher and Lantos Intoduce Congressional Resolution to Honor the 600th Anniversary of the Birth of Gjergj Castrioti Scanderbeg

For Immediate Release

Contact: AACL, (914) 671-8583


WASHINGTON, OCTOBER 28, 2005—Today, at the urging of the Albanian American Civic League, House International Relations Committee Member Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Tom Lantos (D-CA), the Committee’s Ranking Democrat, introduced a Congressional Resolution honoring the 600th anniversary of the birth of Gjergj Castrioti (Scanderbeg)—the fifteenth century Albanian statesman, diplomat, and military genius who is a national hero to Albanians in the Balkans and throughout the world.

With the help of several Albanian professors, Civic League President Joe DioGuardi and Balkan Affairs Adviser Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi provided the research to convince Rohrabacher and Lantos to introduce a Congressional Resolution commemorating on October 28, 2005, the many achievements (listed in the resolution) of Gjergj Castrioti Scanderbeg. The Resolution concludes with the House of Representatives urging the Bush administration to “work with its European partners to accelerate the integration of Albania and a free Kosova into the European Union, in recognition of the great contributions and sacrifice made by Gjergj Castrioti and the Albanian people in saving Western Europe from Ottoman domination.” This follows an account of Scanderbeg’s life and the occupation that the Albanian people endured for 425 years after Scanderbeg’s death, ending on November 28, 1912, with the raising of the Albanian flag by Ismail Qemali over a free Albania, including Kosova and the Albanian lands of Macedonia, Montenegro, Presheva, and Chameria.

Joe DioGuardi stated that, “Castrioti is the leading figure of the many great historical heroes of the Albanian people. Albanians can rightly be proud of their illustrious history and heritage, beginning in modern times with Gjergj Castrioti and continuing into the 21st century with Blessed Mother Teresa.” DioGuardi added that, “In between, to name just two other great figures, we cannot forget the wisdom, courage, and love of the Albanian national cause of Ismail Qemali and Bishop and Prime Minister Fan Noli. We must continue to honor these heroes and their prodigious efforts to free all Albanians, if we are to keep faith (besa) with the Albanian people today and in future generations.”

According to Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, “the introduction of a Congressional Resolution honoring Scanderbeg is an important contribution to educating America about the role

that Albanians have played in shaping Western history. Scanderbeg’s struggle against

Ottoman occupation and oppression for twenty-seven years safeguarded Western Europe and laid the groundwork for its development into a body of free and democratic states.” Cloyes added that, “On the eve of Kosova’s final status talks, the Rohrabacher-Lantos Resolution is also a timely and important reminder that resolving the Albanian national cause, which Scanderbeg founded, is essential to bringing lasting peace to a whole, undivided, and unified Europe.”

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109th CONGRESS H.RES. 522


Honoring the 600th anniversary of the birth of Gjergj Castrioti (Scanderbeg), statesman, diplomat, and military genius, for his role in saving Western Europe from Ottoman occupation.


Mr. ROHRABACHER (for himself and Mr. LANTOS) submitted the following resolution;

which was referred to the Committee on International Relations on October 28, 2005


Whereas six hundred years ago, in 1405 AD, in the White Castle of Kruja (formerly Croya), Albania, Gjergj Castrioti was born;

Whereas at the age of 17 his father reluctantly left him with the Ottoman Turkish Sultan as a condition of peace;

Whereas Castrioti excelled in studying history and classical languages and at an early age reached the rank of General in the Ottoman Turkish Army;

Whereas Castrioti’s military genius and unique leadership qualities were praised by Sultan Murad, who called him Iskander Bey (now Scanderbeg), after Alexander the Great;

Whereas, while being away from his native Albanian lands, Castrioti never forgot his Albanian heritage and people;

Whereas on October 28, 1443, after much soul-searching and in utmost secrecy, Castrioti finally decided to return home and liberate the Albanian people from Ottoman domination;

Whereas the Battle of Nish on November 10, 1443, between Ottoman troops and the Hungarian Army (led by another freedom-fighter, Janos Hunyadi), gave Scanderbeg the perfect opportunity to accomplish his plan of return;

Whereas on November 28, 1443, Scanderbeg returned to his native town of Kruja and raised again his flag with the double-headed eagle over the White Castle there to the enthusiastic celebration of his people, an historical moment vividly described by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his lengthy epic poem, “Scanderbeg”;

Whereas Scanderbeg thereafter successfully defended the Albanian people against countless attacks by the Ottoman Empire, the largest army of the period, including in 1450 the onslaught of more than 150,000 Ottoman troops led by Sultan Murad, who was ultimately defeated by vastly outnumbered Albanian foot soldiers and cavalry led by Scanderbeg at the Castle of Kruja in a bloody Homeric struggle;

Whereas Murad’s son, Sultan Mehmed, conquered Constantinople in 1453, thus ending the Byzantine period, but was unable in 1466 and 1467 to conquer Albania, even though he commanded the largest army of the time, including up to 300,000 foot soldiers and horsemen;

Whereas, during 1460 and 1461, Gjergj Castrioti Scanderbeg brought his army to southern Italy for the second time to defend his ally, King Alphonse of Naples, against the invasion of the Lombards of southern France;

Whereas Gjergj Castrioti united the Albanian people and established a free state of Albania, which endured for 25 years;

Whereas according to Major General James Wolfe, commander of the British army at Quebec, “Scanderbeg… excels all officers, ancient and modern, in the conduct of a small defensive army….”; and, according to noted British historian Edward Gibbon, “the enthusiasm of chivalry and religion has ranked the Albanian prince with the names of Alexander the Great and Pyrrhus”;

Whereas Scanderbeg died at the town of Lyssus (now Lezha), Albania, on January 17, 1468, and Albanians resisted Ottoman occupation for another 20 years, after which the Ottomans overran Albania, forcing tens of thousands of Albanians to flee across the Adriatic Sea to the Kingdom of Naples for asylum, where their progeny still live today;

Whereas the nation of Albania under Scanderbeg prevented the invasion of Rome and all of Italy by the Ottoman Empire, thus effectively paving the way for the Italian Renaissance;

Whereas statues of Scanderbeg mounted on his stallion with sword in hand today grace the capitals of Italy, Austria, Hungary, Albania, and Kosova;

Whereas Albania, including Kosova, became free again on November 28, 1912, after 425 years of Turkish Ottoman occupation, and today modern Albania and Turkey are both staunch allies of the United States of America; and

Whereas the Republic of Albania today is resolute in joining NATO and the European Union as promptly as possible: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) commemorates on this day of October 28, 2005, the achievements of Gjergj Castrioti Scanderbeg;

(2) commends Albanians everywhere for paying tribute to and honoring their valiant leader, hero, and son, Gjergj Castrioti; and

(3) urges the United States government to work with its European partners to speed up the integration of Albania and a free Kosova into the European Union in recognition of the great contribution and sacrifice made by Gjergj Castrioti and the Albanian people in saving Western Europe from Ottoman domination.

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